Vaeira: Chain of Our History
It states: “The hail and the rain did not reach the earth.” God suspended them in midair. And when did they descend? In the days of Yehoshuah, they descended upon the Amorites. Those that remained in the heavens will come down upon Gog and Magog in the days of Mashiach. The thunder was also suspended. When did the thunder reappear? In the days of Elisha, when it came upon the camp of Aram.” (Midrash Tanchuma, Va’eira #16)
What is the Midrash teaching us here? Why the need to safeguard the hail and thunder for later times? God could have just created more, why would He “recycle” it from the time of the plagues in Egypt?
Sometimes, when we look back at our history, we see it in fragmented pieces, we lack the perception of how it is all connected, of how it all flows.
When Moshe prayed for the hail to cease, it got suspended in midair. The Midrash tells us that that same hail is what God destroyed the Amorites with in the times of Yehoshuah and the same thunder is what confused our enemies in the days of Elisha. Not only that, but what is left over from the hail of Egypt is waiting now to descend upon our enemies at the time of the Final Redemption.
The chain is still unfolding. When we remember what happened to our ancestors as they were redeemed from Egypt, we are not simply dusting off a disjointed memory from the pages of a history book. We are a part of it in a very real way. We are connected to them, as we are connected to the Jews in the times of Yehoshuah and in the days of Elisha.
The hail of Egypt carries the expression of how God cares for us and brings justice upon those who have oppressed us over the ages. It is still suspended in the heavens, heavy with the latent promise of what has yet to come when God will break the chain of our exile forever.